The Hindu Newspaper 09/07/2020

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  1. Consider the following statements with respect to Mount Leo Pargyil

i)It is the third highest peak of Himachal.

ii)It lies in the Pirpanchal range.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are incorrect?

a.  1 only

b.  2 only

c.  Both 1 and 2

d.  Neither 1 nor 2

Answer : b


It is considered to be among the most challenging and technically difficult peak to scale.

It lies in the Zanskar range.

An Indian Army team successfully summited Mount Leo Pargyil (6773M).

  1. T. N. Manoharan committee sometimes seen in the news recently was constituted for which of the following purposes?

a. To develop secondary market for corporate loans

b. To reconstitute Press Council of India (PCI)

c. To review existing framework for Corporate Social Responsibility

d. To enquire into flaws associated with public distribution systems in India

Answer : a

  1. Global Fund (GFTAM) is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of which of the following diseases?
  1. AIDS
  2. Alzheimer
  3. Measles
  4. Malaria
  5. Tetanus
  6. Tuberculosis

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a.  1, 4 and 6 only

b.  2, 3 and 5 only

c.  2, 4 and 6 only

d.  1, 2, 4 and 6 only

Answer : a

The Global Fund is a partnership designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

India has had a sustained partnership with the Global Fund since 2002 both as a recipient and as a donor. 

News: Trump starts withdrawal of U.S. from WHO

About WHO :-World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health was founded in 1948.

  • Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
  • It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.
  • The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.


  • To act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
  • To establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nations, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations, professional groups and such other organizations as may be deemed appropriate.
  • To provide assistance to the Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services.
  • To promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.


World Health Assembly

  • The Health Assembly is composed of delegates representing Members.
  • Each Member is represented by not more than three delegates, one of whom is designated by the Member as chief delegate.
  • These delegates are chosen from among persons most qualified by their technical competence in the field of health, preferably representing the national health administration of the Member.
  • The Health Assembly meets in regular annual session and sometimes in special sessions as well.

News: – About IRDAI :- Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDAI

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDAI is the apex body responsible for regulating and developing the insurance industry in India. It is an autonomous body. It was established by an act of Parliament known as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. Hence, it is a statutory body.

The IRDAI is headquartered in Hyderabad in Telangana. Prior to 2001, it was headquartered in New Delhi. 

IRDA Functions

The functions of the IRDA are listed below:

  • Its primary purpose is to protect the rights of the policyholders in India. 
  • It gives the registration certificate to insurance companies in the country.
  • It also engages in the renewal, modification, cancellation, etc. of this registration.
  • It also creates regulations to protect policyholders’ interests in India.

IRDA Mission

To protect the interests of the policyholders, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the insurance industry and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

News:A forty year old puzzle about production of lithium in stars is solved

Stars, as per known mechanisms of evolution, actually destroy lithium as they evolve into red giants. 
What was believed till now:- Planets were known to have more lithium than their stars—as is the case with the Earth Sun pair. 

However,leading to a contradiction,some stars were found that were lithium rich.

The new work by shows that when stars grow beyond their Red Giant stage into what is known as the Red Clump stage, they produce lithium in what is known as a helium flash and this is what enriches them with lithium. 

The study challenges the present understanding  of nucleosynthesis in stars.

News :- Navy concludes Samudra Setu:-Operation Samudra Setu, which was launched by the Navy on May 5 as part of the national effort to repatriate Indian citizens abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, has culminated after successfully bringing back 3,992 individuals.

Involved Ships:- Landing Platform Dock INS Jalashwa and Landing Ship Tanks INS AiravatShardul and Magar participated in this operation that lasted over 55 days and involved traversing more then 23,000 km by sea.

Earlier Missions:- The Navy has previously undertaken similar evacuation operations as part of Operation Sukoon in 2006 (Beirut) and Operation Rahat in 2015 (Yemen).

News:- Cabinet clears affordable rental housing for urban migrants:-

A scheme for providing affordable rental housing to about 3 lakh urban migrants was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.

The creation of affordable rental housing complexes was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 14 as a part of the government’s economic package to address the COVID-19 crisis.

Sub-scheme of PMAY-U:-

At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Cabinet approved the scheme, which will be a sub-scheme of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban that is implemented by the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana -Urban

  • It was in 2015 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor with a target of building 20 million affordable houses by 31st March 2022.
  • It provides central assistance to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and other implementing agencies through States/UTs.
  • Eligibility: All statutory towns as per Census 2011 and towns notified subsequently would be eligible for coverage under the Mission.
  • Provisions:
    • In-situ Rehabilitation of existing slum dwellers using land as a resource through private participation.
    • Credit Linked Subsidy.
    • Affordable Housing in Partnership.
    • Subsidy for Beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.
  • The mission promotes women empowerment by providing the ownership of houses in the name of female members or in joint name.

News:- Enforcement Directorate

  • It is a specialized financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
  • On 1st May 1956, an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed in the Department of Economic Affairs for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947. In 1957, it was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.
  • ED enforces the following laws:
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

News:-Fishermen Issue with Sri Lanka:-

Why in News

Recently, Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen have reported a sudden increase in the number of Indian trawlers spotted in its territorial waters.

  • The territorial waters extend seaward up to 12 nautical miles (nm) from baselines of a country.
  • Fishermen along the northern coast of Jaffna Peninsula have lost their nets worth lakhs of rupees in the sea, after being caught under the large Indian trawlers.
    • These Indian trawlers are known to originate from the Indian State of Tamil Nadu.


  • Introduction of the International Maritime Boundary Line :
    • Indian boats have been fishing in the troubled waters for centuries and had a free run of the Bay of Bengal, Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar until 1974 and 1976 when treaties were signed between the two countries to demarcate International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
    • However, the treaties failed to factor in the hardship of thousands of traditional fishermen who were forced to restrict themselves to a meagre area in their fishing forays.
  • Katchatheevu Island Issue:
    • The small islet of Katchatheevu, hitherto used by them for sorting their catch and drying their nets, fell on the other side of the IMBL.
    • Fishermen often risk their lives and cross the IMBL rather than return empty-handed, but the Sri Lankan Navy is on alert, and have either arrested or destroyed fishing nets and vessels of those who have crossed the line.
  • Implementation of Practical Agreements:
    • Both countries have agreed on certain practical arrangements to deal with the issue of bona fide fishermen of either side crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line.
    • Through these arrangements, it has been possible to deal with the issue of detention of fishermen in a humane manner.
    • India and Sri Lanka have agreed to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India and Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka as the mechanism to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issue.

Key Points

  • Threat to Livelihoods:
    • The Sri lankan fishermen fear that their livelihoods will be hit due to trawlers which are already under strain due to the coronavirus pandemic induced reduction in the export.
  • Step Taken by Sri Lanka:
    • In the last couple of years, Sri Lanka has introduced tougher laws banning bottom-trawling, and has also introduced heavy fines for trespassing foreign vessels.
    • The Sri Lankan Navy arrested over 450 Indian fishermen in 2017 and 156 in 2018 on charges of poaching. A total of 210 arrests were made in 2019, while 34 have been made so far in 2020.
  • Scare of Covid-19:
    • The Sri Lankan fishermen have been alleging that currently the Sri Lankan Navy is reluctant to arrest the trespassing fishermen from Tamil Nadu now, due to the Covid-19 prevalence in India.
    • However, the Sri Lankan Navy claims to be very vigilant along their borders not just to monitor illegal fishing, but also to take action on any illicit activity such as narcotics trade.

Way Forward

  • India needs to focus more on its traditional and cultural ties to improve relations with Sri Lanka.
  • Starting ferry services between India and Sri Lanka can improve people to people linkages.
  • Mutual recognition of each other’s concerns and interests can improve the relationship between both countries.

News:- Open Sky Agreement

Why in News

Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expressed interest to have an Open Sky Agreement with India.

Key Points

  • Significance of the Open Sky Agreement:
    • Open Sky Agreements are bilateral agreements that the two countries negotiate to provide rights for airlines to offer international passenger and cargo services. It expands international passenger and cargo flights.
    • India has Air Service Agreements (ASA) with 109 countries including UAE covering aspects relating to the number of flights, seats, landing points and code-share. But does not allow unlimited number of flights between two countries.
    • Open skies between India and UAE will allow unlimited number of flights to the selected cities of each other’s countries.
  • India’s Open Sky Policy:
    • The National Civil Aviation Policy (2016) allows the government to enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations as well as countries beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
    • It implies that nations within 5,000 kilometer of distance need to enter into a bilateral agreement and mutually determine the number of flights that their airlines can operate between the two countries.
    • India has open sky agreements with Greece, Jamaica, Guyana, Finland, USA, Japan, etc.
  • Fifth and Sixth Freedom of Air:
    • UAE also mentioned that it does not intend to implement fifth and six freedoms of air, and where the interest of Indian airlines will be threatened by other air carriers.
    • The Freedom of air was formulated as a result of disagreements over the extent of aviation liberalisation in the Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944, known as the Chicago Convention.
      • The freedoms of the air are a set of commercial aviation rights granting a country’s airlines the privilege to enter and land in another country’s airspace.
      • The fifth freedom of air includes the right to fly between two foreign countries on a flight originating or ending in one’s own country.
      • The sixth freedom of air includes the right to fly from a foreign country to another while stopping in one’s own country for non-technical reasons.

Way Forward

  • Currently, about 1,068 flights a week are operated between India and the UAE under the bilateral Air Service Agreement (ASA). India and UAE need to have an open sky policy which in turn will help India to become a commercial hub in the future.

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